The Clerk in the Country
Friday 30th October 2020
A Horror Story for Halloween!
Seeing a neighbour’s black and white cat passing by reminded me again of Moppet who, as long-standing readers may remember, could be over-ambitious in her choice of quarry. On this occasion she had spotted from the back yard the tip of a dove’s pale tail at the top of the wall. Doves are gentle and courteous birds and Moppet had caught one before. It had obligingly folded its wings to be more easily slotted through the cat flap and looked most apologetic at spoiling the fun by making an early exit through the back door. So Moppet chose to ignore my frantic signals from an upstairs window, jumped lightly onto the top of the wall and gave that tempting tail a tap with her paw.
What turned to face her was no dove, politely regretting being in the way. Cats have claws but this creature had talons. Cats have a wide opening jaw full of sharp teeth but this monster’s huge mouth was encased in an iron beak. Cats hiss a threat but the hiss that came from this thing was halfway to a roar.
Without taking her eyes off it, Moppet took a step back and dropped silently to the foot of the wall, pressing herself into two dimensions against the brickwork. Then, just like Tom when Jerry has led him into a confrontation with Spike the Bulldog, she inched ever so slowly backwards toe over toe until she was close enough to the cat flap to get through it in one rapid leap.
While poor Moppet lay horror-stricken on the doormat, the young barn owl flew off to continue exploring its new territory.